Interfaith leader visiting Australia and New Zealand

May 7, 2012 by  
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Debbie Weissman the president of one of the world’s leading interfaith organsations, the International Council of Christians and Jews’ (ICCJ) president,  accepts that all too often the image of religion in the world today is one of extremism, of xenophobia and of violence.

Debbie Weissman

Visiting Australia and New Zealand, Jerusalem-based Dr. Weissman will deliver the keynote address at the organisation’s International Conference in Wellington next week.

“I won’t argue that this image has no truth to it”, she has said. “But, I don’t really believe that this extremist image accurately reflects the complex reality of religions in our world. I think it’s more a question of the extremist, violent forms of our religions being given a great deal more exposure than the rest of us. After all, a bombing, an attack on worshippers, the language of incitement—are more newsworthy than peaceful dialogue and coexistence.

“What is it about religion and religions that accounts for this unholy alliance between faith and extreme violence? To begin with, many people of faith seem to have absolute faith that allows no questioning of authority and makes no room for other truths.  When we interpret present-day reality through ancient scriptures, we may lose touch with those around us and their human needs. And when we expect reward for our actions in the world-to-come, it may impel us to be violent to others in the world-that-is.”

 On a positive note, Weissman will tell the New Zealand conference that the true clash in today’s world is not “between civilisations” but within each civilisation or religion—a clash between the forces of fundamentalism or extremism and those of moderation, tolerance, “or what I might call ‘religious humanism.’

“We need to strive to emphasise within each of our cultures those elements which promote a more open and compassionate attitude to other human beings,” the ICCJ president said.


3 Responses to “Interfaith leader visiting Australia and New Zealand”
  1. …at least Ms Weissman has the required knowldge cum respect for what is called religion in order to accomplish “that” respect conducive to civilised behaviour by the “so called” anti Semitic tendencies her interlocutors “may” exhibit.
    My question simply is : Is it fair that Debbie is neglecting her own family, such as cooking, taking grand children for walks, tidy up the house, not to mention her canasta partners, all of which she MUST be excellent at, instead of offending our intelligence !!??

    ( betya this wont be published !!)

  2. michael says:

    Gee Weissman and her compatriots are doing a great job the Muslims and Catholics love and respect the Jews …

    • Well said “Michael”. One cannot qualify as a Muslim or Catholic, apparently, unless endowed with a healthy dose of prejudice, spiritual venom and “cute” little comments reeking of anti Semitism, point being that, indeed Ms Weissman and her compatriots are, indeed, wasting their time attempting to infuse any decency into dogmas dedicated to Jew hatred.

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